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For the week of June 21 through June 27, 2000

Bleating bands


A band of 2,400 sheep and lambs rounds up and resumes its trek northward. Express photo by Ron SobleFor more than a century, sheep have trailed into the Wood River and Sawtooth valleys as warm summer days beckon, and then back to the Snake River Plain as the cold snap of winter takes hold.

On Friday, bands of sheep made their way through the Wood River Valley, stopping to graze and rest along the way.

One band of approximately 2,400 sheep and lambs was found resting on a hillside about three miles south of Ketchum. From afar, they appeared like wads of cotton against a green hillside. Two shepherds—one from Peru, another from Mexico—rested nearby.

Then, at about 4:30 p.m., as a few drops of rain fell from a mostly sunny sky, the shepherds and their dogs went to work.

"C’mon boss, it’s been a tough day." Express photo by Ron SobleOne shepherd mounted a horse and rode up the hillside, whistling after the band. Bleating cries sounded through the canyon, and the band was on its way to high country grazing land where it would spend the summer.

Sheep have grazed and been trailed in central Idaho since 1892 when sheep largely replaced lead and silver as the Wood River Valley’s major export.

More than a century later, sheep still trail through the Wood River Valley—but tourism has taken over as the primary fuel stoking its economic engine.

 

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